Recognizing Our Enemy, Satan
Our Enemy Satan, is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8) and Jesus said that Satan was a murderer and liar from the beginning according to John 8:44. However, as a Child of God, do I know how to recognize Satan outside of those descriptions? Consider 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 which says:
12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. 2 Corinthians 11:12-15
Satan looks for things to harmonize with his purpose and in Genesis 3:1-15, the instrument that Satan selected was the serpent because the Bible says it was craftier (subtle, artful, insinuating) than the other animals in the Garden. This presupposes that there were other animals in the Garden that were crafty, however, Satan chose the one that was more crafty than the others! The Child of God should take note that Satan seeks to use what is crafty and 2 Corinthians 11:12-15, teaches that Satan even disguises himself as an angel of light and further, that Satan’s ministers disguise themselves as servants of righteousness too.
Learning truth from the Bible, we understand that Satan and his servants are disguised as servants of righteousness; therefore, the description and image that we receive about Satan from television and Hollywood is then useless, because we will miss Satan and his ministers because we tend to think about a pitchfork, horns, and things that do not appear godly. Therefore, Christians must then learn to look for Satan beyond just a mental image that was created by Hollywood. Jesus recognized Satan by what he said to Him, consider:
22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:22-23
In Matthew 16:21, Jesus told the disciples that He was going into Jerusalem to die for the sins of the world, and while it seemed Peter had good intentions in saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” Notice that Peter’s statement was designed to encourage Jesus away from the will and fulfilling God’s purpose (see John 3:16, John 18:37, Romans 5:8-19, Hebrews 5:1-14, and 1 John 2:2). Jesus called the Enemy by his name and tells Satan to get behind Him because he is a hindrance to the Christ. As Christians we have to be careful of the advice and the encouragement that we receive even from brethren, remembering anything that takes us away from God’s purpose and Word is anti-Christ or satanic, therefore a hindrance to us. While it may be now a little easier to recognize Satan in others, Matthew 7:1-5 teaches Christians that we need to be concerned about the things within us that offend and need to be corrected too, so that we may help others afterward.
Are we maturing enough spiritually to see Satan in some of our own behaviors toward brethren because we have offered and or suggested things against God’s purpose to them? Has Satan used us to deliver ungodly/ unscriptural advice that is really a hindrance to our brethren? If Christians are offended by the question of whether Satan uses brethren to serve his purpose and never consider that Satan used Peter, then he could use us too. We probably will not be on guard about what we say and miss the entire point of Ephesians 6:10-20, and Paul’s message about standing vigilant with the Whole Armor of God, so that we can stand against the schemes of the devil. Ask yourself, why be on guard against something that cannot affect you, unless you can be affected by Satan’s schemes? I am not suggesting demon possession in any way, just a reminder, that advice given or taken that is against God’s purpose is of Satan, therefore must be avoided by the Child of God.